Study Guide

Nausea Chapter 25

By Jean-Paul Sartre

Chapter 25

6.00pm

  • Antoine starts this entry by saying that he has finally reached his goal. But he doesn't feel satisfied by it. On the contrary, he feels crushed by his newfound knowledge. The truth he has realized is that his Nausea isn't some disease in his brain. It is him. There is no Antoine without the Nausea. It's part of who he is.
  • He suddenly looks at the world of things around him and doesn't think of words when he looks at things. He forgets, for example, that a tree root is called a root. Instead, he just sees "naked existence" in terms of what it looks like beyond human words.
  • Then he had a powerful vision. Every time he began to think about the world in terms of human concepts and categories, pure existence would bust through his thoughts and confront him again with its nakedness. Picturing naked existence is like trying to picture the world after the last of humanity is gone. Existence still exists whether humans are around to see it or not.
  • In other words, if a tree falls in the woods and no one's around to hear it, it does still make a sound.
  • When it comes time to describe his relationship to things, Antoine can only say that things are "in the way." He can't describe it any more specifically than this. On top of that, he feels like he is also "in the way."
  • His final conclusion in his vision is that "Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance" (25.12).
  • With this, Antoine feels like he has learned all he will ever know about existence, so he goes back to his hotel to write about his visions in his diary.

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